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Campbell, D. (1995). The Role Of The Father In A Pre-Suicide State. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:315-323.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:315-323

The Role Of The Father In A Pre-Suicide State

Donald Campbell

In the self-examination that followed a patient's suicide attempt, the author was worried by three features which he had observed in an earlier suicide attempt by another patient: (1) the father had not featured in the analysis as much as would have been expected, (2) the suicide attempt occurred during a period when the time and place boundaries of the analytic setting were in jeopardy, e.g. the patient was absent from sessions; and (3) this coincided with the author having temporarily underestimated the suicidal risk. These three features were illuminated by a transference to a father who did not claim his child for himself and offer an alternative to fusion with a dangerous mother. Although the patent's suicide fantasies were based on a pathological bond with his mother, during the pre-suicide state the internalised father who had failed to protect his son from mother was evoked in the countertransference to function as a sanction for the suicidal act.

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